Painter uses travelling experience to help artists

Edwin Easydorchik.
Edwin Easydorchik.

A successful Northumberland-born painter and philanthropist has established a travelling scholarship to inspire the next generation of young North East artists.

And it is being supported by a match-funding scheme run by Community Foundation Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

Edwin Easydorchik was born in Stannington and spent his childhood in Newbiggin-by-the-sea.

He emigrated to Sydney, Australia, 29 years ago, but has never forgotten his roots or the philanthropy that helped him get started as a young artist.

In 1971, he was awarded the Sir James Knott Travelling Scholarship from the Royal College of Art, allowing him to tour Italy for six months.

Edwin said: “My travelling scholarship had such a profound effect on me and it proved to be a pivotal moment in my career. It opened my eyes.

“I was 22, had never been abroad and my grand tour of Italy has had a massive effect on my life and on my art.

“I met some tremendous people, learned Italian and enjoyed the most magical experiences and opportunities that have influenced my whole life.

“I wanted to do something similarly special for young artists back home in the North East of England and decided to set-up the Edwin John Easydorchick Travelling Scholarship at the Community Foundation to give them the same experience and opportunities that I’d had.”

Using Mr Murray’s Million Pound Match, which still has funds available until the end of April, Edwin saw his total investment of £80,000 to date grow to more than £120,000.

The scholarship fund will make one award per year and it has just made its first grant to 24-year-old Gateshead artist Jon Cornbill, who will travel to the rustbelt of America.

Edwin has showcased his art in many solo exhibitions and group exhibitions around the globe. His work is displayed in collections of the British Council, the Arts Council of Great Britain and the University of Western Sydney, as well as numerous international private collections.

Ronnie Murray, who was a flour miller and served in the Royal Navy, had made a provision for his extended family, but he also wanted to help the broader community.

A trusted friend and advisor suggested he make an unrestricted gift to the Community Foundation for the benefit of many groups and individuals for generations to come.

When Ronnie died in 2015, the foundation wanted to do something really special with his rare gift so they decided to launch an initiative in his name – Mr Murray’s Million Pound Match.

The minimum amount that can be matched is £1,000 and there are funds in the £10,000 to £50,000 range available.

For more information about the scholarship, call the Community Foundation on 0191 2220945.

For more details about Mr Murray’s Million Pound Match, go to www.communityfoundation.org.uk/givingandphilanthropy/match